A MAN who was involved in sophisticated cannabis factory set up in premises in Ayr's High Street was today jailed for four years and eight months.

Gediminas Petryla, (correct) 37, was caught red-handed in the premises - which contained cannabis plants with a maximum street value of £1.23 million - when police raided it on June 26.

At the High Court in Glasgow Petryla admitted producing cannabis at 62-64 High Street, Ayr.

Prosecutor Liam Ewing QC said: “This is an end-terraced property within a block of commercial premises. It is an area frequented by large numbers of the public as it is in the town's main shopping area.”

The shop area appeared to have been used as an internet cafe. Police forced a locked door at the rear of the premises and went up to the first floor where there was another locked door.

When they battered that open and went up to the second floor of the building police found the accused standing surrounded by cannabis plants, light boxes, water pumps and air filters.

Petryla, who has previous convictions in the Netherlands and Italy, was searched and the keys for the premises were found in his possession.

A full search of the building was then untaken and 105 cannabis plants were found in the first floor and 218 in the second floor area.

When interviewed by police Petryla claimed he had been in the UK for two years and at the premises in Ayr for a month.

He told police: “I'm only looking after it,” but refused to provided any further details.

A police drug expert, who examined the cannabis factory, described it as 'an industrial set-up” and said no expense had been spared in the purchase of the cultivation equipment. He estimated the cost of the equipment found in the building at approximately £115,000.

Mr Ewing said: “If the cannabis recovered in this case was subdivided into the smallest denomination of two gram deals then it has the potential value of £1,237,080.”

Judge Lady Rae jailed Petryla, from Lithuania.

Petryla was jailed in Italy in 2013 for 30 months for the offence of” illicit purchase, detention and offers of drugs.”